Sunday, 4 February 2007

Wales vs. Ireland

Wales own Barbie Doll Katherine Jenkins set the scene with her rendition of the Welsh National Anthem. But within 45 seconds of the start of the game Welsh feet were brought back to ground with an Irish try. Given such a start in previous seasons the Welsh spirit might have dropped. But not with this team. The forwards in particular put on a demonstration of fast movement and ball handling which was rewarded by three penalties. Even though Wales dominated the play the Irish backs always looked that they had the potential to break through the Welsh defence. This came in the 32nd minute with a try in the corner by O’Driscoll, converted by O’Gara. The score remained at Wales 9 - 12 Ireland at half time.

Within two minutes of the start of the second half Czekaj following a grubber kick was tackled without the ball. Surely a penalty try or at least a penalty, but the referee inexplicably gave a scrum in Ireland’s favour. There then followed an exhibition of rugby which was a showcase for the sport. Wales did everything but score. But as in the first half, the threat of an Irish breakthrough was always present, and true to form in the 71st minute O’Gara scored a try in the corner which he converted. Despite all Welsh efforts the score remained Wales 9 - 19 Ireland.

As Welsh supporter I can honestly say I am not disappointed by the Welsh effort. The pack played their hearts out, Peel once again demonstrated he is the No1 Inside Half in the World. The only question mark is against Stephen Jones the Welsh Captain - can he retain the Outside Half slot, is he capable of making the breaks necessary to unleash the Welsh backs? The fact he is the Captain might be the only reason he retains his place.

If Ireland keep their heads they can go on to win the Triple Crown and possibly the Grand Slam.

Next weekend its:

England vs. Italy
Scotland vs. Wales
Ireland vs. France

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